THON raises record $7.8 million for Four Diamonds Fund

February 22, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- THON 2010 overall chair Caitlin Zankowski screamed and jumped around the stage as the overall committee revealed the total raised in this year's 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping event.

In spite of the continuing weak economy, this year's total reached a new record high of more than $7.8 million, surpassing last year's total by more than $347,000.

This year, Penn State Public Information followed one dancer couple through THON, with video updates periodically throughout the event. To see how theatre majors Erik Larson and Cat Farley fared, check out their video blogs on YouTube:

THON arrival:
THON check-in 1:
THON Saturday afternoon:
THON Sunday:

Photos from THON can be found at,, and online.

Some THON facts:

-- More than 700 dancers, more than 300 supporting organizations and more than 15,000 volunteers overall contributed their time to this year's Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, affectionately known as THON.

-- Each year, THON is the single largest donor to the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, having raised nearly $70 million since 1977, when the two organizations first became affiliated.

-- Each year, all the money Penn State students raise through THON is collected between a small window of time -- Oct. 1 through the last day of THON (Feb. 22 this year) -- less than five months.

-- THON has helped more than 2,000 families through the Four Diamonds Fund, which offers financial and emotional support to pediatric cancer patients and their families and also funds cancer research. Approximately 100 new families receive support each year.

-- There are Four Diamonds patients representing 27 out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania. (from page 4 of the 2009 Four Diamonds Fund Annual Report, available as PDF online at

-- In 2004, THON pledged $10 million over six years toward a new Pediatric Cancer Pavilion at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. From 2004 through 2010, THON actually raised nearly four times that amount -- more than $39 million.

-- Since the Four Diamonds Fund was established, some pediatric cancer survival rates have increased to 90 percent, thanks to the continued support for pediatric cancer research.

  • This year THON raised more than $7.8 million for the Four Diamonds Fund.

    IMAGE: Andy Colwell
Last Updated November 18, 2010